SEPTEMBER 17, 1940
NEW YORK, Monday—We left the country this morning by an early train. I must confess to departing reluctantly, because I must be away until next Saturday and spend the intervening days in many different places, and the summer has made me lazy.
Yesterday the sad news came to us of Speaker Bankhead's death. I have had the pleasure of talking with the Speaker on many occasions and always found him a kindly, tolerant, high-minded human being. He will be missed, for his position as Speaker of the House of Representatives was one of great importance. He had the respect and affection of his colleagues. His life was a full one, which must be a consolation to his family and friends.
In the last few days I have read a book called: "Beyond Tears," by Irmgard Litten, with an introduction by Pierre van Paassen. There is a short foreword by the Archbishop of York, so short that I can quote it here: "I hope this book may be widely read as a moving human record which illustrates the spirit of the Nazi tyranny."
In his introduction and epilogue, Mr. van Paassen points to the implications which this story and the Hitler triumph in Europe have for our country. To me the book was painful to read and deeply moving. One cannot help but be proud for the whole human race that such people as Hans Litten and his mother have lived in the world and kept faith to the end.
On the other hand, when one sees what an able fight was put up to preserve justice and respect for the law and freedom under the law, one must tremble for what may happen to the rest of the world if such a regime as Hans Litten fought gains mastery permanently over a great area.
The doctrine that might is right is no new one, and martyrs have suffered down through the ages in establishing the fact that justice is meted out according to a code which is above might and which protects the weak as well as the strong. There is one other point to be made and emphasized—that those who have power purely through physical force are very apt, when there is no restraint over them, to become brutal and to use their power with cruelty.
I hope with the Archbishop, that many people who are not yet awake to the menace of power which knows no restraints except the measure of its own physical force, will read this book. But I shall not blame them if they put it down occasionally with a feeling that they cannot bear the human suffering it depicts.